Jenaya & Josiah awarded in Por el Planeta

This past summer Jenaya and Josiah both received a pretty exciting email from none other than acclaimed conservation photographer, Cristina Mittermeier. I (John) was in town with Josiah when the email came through, telling us Josiah had been awarded in Por el Planeta, and I reached for my phone to share the news with Jenaya only to read an incoming message from her saying, “Guess what?!?!”

It turns out both my talented young photographers had made it through the thousands of entries (28,578 to be precise) to each have an image awarded as Specially Commended in this prestigious and important competition.

Por el Planeta is the largest conservation photography competition in the world, with photographers from 88 countries participating in 2015. The judging panel was a veritable “who’s who” of conservation photography, including Cristina Mittermeier, Kathy Moran (Sr. Editor of Natural History at National Geographic), renowned underwater photographer Brian Skerry, celebrated wildlife photography editor Sophie Stafford, Mexican photographer Graciela Iturbide and chaired by fellow-Canadian photographer Paul Nicklen.

Jenaya’s awarded image, “Owls in the Wind,” was also the overall winner of the 2015 Big Picture Natural World Photography Competition (Under-18 division), and has become one of her most talked-about works to date. If you’d like to learn the story behind this iconic image, check out our blog post on her Big Picture win, which shows her in the field setting the composition up. You can also learn more about the image and how to order fine art prints here.

Owls in the Wind | © Copyright 2013 Jenaya Launstein |

“Owls in the Wind” conveys a powerful conservation message as it depicts how wildlife must adapt to the changes we introduce to their world. You can learn the story behind this award-winning image and discover how to purchase it as a Limited Edition Print here.

Josiah’s winning image, “Snowy Snowy,” was also awarded in the world’s largest wildlife photography competition this past year, the 2015 Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition. It is featured in both the WPY and Por el Planeta Portfolio books, and is currently on an exhibition tour of more than 70 top natural history museums around the world. Created during a brutal winter snowstorm in the Canadian Prairies in -30C temperatures, “Snowy Snowy” has already become Josiah’s top-selling Limited Edition Print. You can learn more about the image and fine art print options here.

Snowy Snowy | © Copyright 2015 Josiah Launstein |

“Snowy Snowy” is an atmospheric image showing a beautiful male snowy owl surveying the surrounding fields for movement in the midst of a brutal prairie snowstorm. You can learn the story behind this award-winning image and discover how to purchase it as a Limited Edition Print here.

Although we were unable to attend the lavish Awards ceremony in Mexico City, we were able to watch live as it streamed around the world.


Jenaya’s “Owls in the Wind” on display at the Por el Planeta Awards Ceremony in Mexico City while Grand Prize Winner Steve Winter talks about the value of conservation photography.

A screenshot from the live stream of the Por el Planeta Awards Ceremony showing Josiah's "Snowy Snowy" image on the big screens

A screenshot from the live stream of the Por el Planeta Awards Ceremony showing Josiah’s “Snowy Snowy” image on the big screens

One of the most exciting news items was that although neither Jenaya nor Josiah took home the top prize, our good friend and award-winning young photographer, Ashleigh Scully, won First Place in the Youth Category (10-13). You can see her beautiful winning image of a red-morph Eastern Screech Owl nestled into a sycamore tree here.


Our friend Ashleigh Scully receiving her award from Cristina Mittermeier as the Youth 10-13 winner.

If you’re interested in learning more about the competition, visit their home page here. The complete list of winners (scroll down for Jenaya and Josiah) can be found here.

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